New Parliament building is a distant dream

New Parliament building is a distant dream

By ANANDO BHAKTO | NEW DELHI | 23 January, 2016
Sumitra Mahajan.
Lok Sabha Speaker’s suggestion to construct a new Parliament building seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
A new Parliament building equipped with latest technologies is a distant dream in the country as the Lok Sabha Speaker’s suggestion for the same has fallen on deaf ears. Although Speaker Sumitra Mahajan wrote a letter to Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu more than a month ago to initiate action for the construction of a new Parliament building, sources in the ministry said it is yet to be considered. A source in the Urban Development Ministry confirmed to The Sunday Guardian that the ministry has not even prepared the customary note in this regard to be sent to the Cabinet for consideration.
“Mahajan did write a letter saying that the existing building is showing ‘distress’ and it is time a new building was contemplated, but there is no progress as of yet. The ministry is yet to consider the letter. No draft note has been sent to Cabinet in this regard,” the source said.
Mahajan in her letter is learnt to have proposed two sites for building the new Parliament complex. She had mentioned that the new structure could come up within the present compound or across the Rajpath, a source aware of the letter said. He added that there has been no follow-up action in the matter.
Mahajan had argued in her letter that the number of Lok Sabha members may go up after 2026 “in accordance with the provisions of the explanation to Clause (3), Article 81 of the Constitution”. She had said that the present capacity of the House is 550 and there is no scope to accommodate more. 
“On account of the ageing of the Parliament House building and expansion in activities, staff etc, the building has shown signs of distress and over utilisation… Under the circumstances, there is an imperative need for the construction of a new state-of-art Parliament building,” Mahajan explained in her letter to Naidu.
Mahajan had also argued that the number of staff, security personnel, media visitors and parliamentary activities have seen a steep rise since the present structure was commissioned in 1927, necessitating the demand for more space.
When contacted, Information Officer of the Urban Development Ministry, A.A. Rao said the ministry is yet to take an official position in response to Mahajan’s letter. “No, there is no development in the matter yet. It takes time usually,” Rao told this correspondent. When asked if a brief has been sent to the Cabinet for further action, Rao replied in the negative.
Sources within the ministry said it is unlikely there will be any speedy action based on Mahajan’s recommendations. 
Sources alluded that no Parliament building will be in the offing anytime soon. In her letter, the Speaker had also noted that since the Parliament building has been declared as “Heritage Grade-I” structure, the options for structural repairs, additions, alterations and modifications were not open. She maintained that Parliamentarians need an upgraded building in keeping with technological advancements.

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